Texas Party Primaries: Runoff Fever

It's runoff day for the Texas party primaries, as Democrats and Republicans settle some races that weren't on primary day last month. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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Democrats are picking someone to run against incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and a nominee for Lieutenant Governor. Ballots around the state also feature two Congressional races, 13 legislative races, and one seat on the State Court of Criminal Appeals. As it always is in runoffs, some voters are asking if they can vote today if they didn't vote last month. County Voter Registrar Paul Bettencourt says not to worry.

"Any registered voter can vote in the runoff today, even if they didn't vote in the Primary. It's a continuation of the last election, and if you didn't vote in the primary, you can still come out and vote today."

Bettencourt says the one thing people can't do is change parties between the primary and the runoff. Crossing over isn't allowed.

"The only restriction is that if you voted in the primary, you have to vote in that primary's runoff. So if you voted Democratic you have to vote in the Democratic runoff, if you voted in the Republican primary you have to vote in the Republican runoff."

Bettencourt says he thinks it's a shame but most voters don't show any interest in runoffs.

"Just so everyone knows how much their vote will count today, we'll be lucky if we get a one percent turnout."

Bettencourt says a lot of polling places have been consolidated for the runoff, so people who get lost can get information about where to vote by calling his office at 713-368-VOTE. Polls close at 7pm. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.